Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah on Monday criticised the former United Progressive Alliance government, and said that his government has spent the years since it came to power in 2014 righting previous wrongs.
“The government has spent much of its time filling up the ditch that we got,” he said in the Rajya Sabha. “After we fill the ditch, please look at our achievements from a different perspective.” The country was marred with instability before the BJP government came to power and the UPA government suffered from policy paralysis, he added. This was Shah’s first speech in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s tweet about selling pakodas being considered a job, Shah said, “Yes, I believe that doing some work is better than begging. When that person’s next generation comes up, they will become industrialists.”
“I am not denying the unemployment, but this is the situation after you [the Congress] ruled the country for 55 years,” Shah added. “The Congress leader’s statement was wrong as a fritter seller is still earning a living instead of begging, he said. “His next generation might rise to be a leader...After all, a tea seller has become a prime minister today.”
Shah admitted that there were a few teething problems in the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax regime. “Nobody had imagined that GST would be implemented at such a large-scale,” he said.
The BJP chief also took on Congress President Rahul Gandhi who had called GST the Gabbar Singh Tax. “Gabbar Singh was a dacoit,” Shah said. “Is collecting tax from people as per the law dacoity?” He claimed that the GST collection is used to pay pension to retired defence personnel under One Rank One Pension, and to cover subsidies for the poor.
The Rajya Sabha MP said the world had started looking at India differently after the “historic” surgical strikes in September 2016. He also claimed that the situation in Kashmir was now the safest in 35 years. Raising the matter of triple talaq, Shah claimed that the prime minister had taken steps in favour of Muslim women, but the Congress had blocked it.
Shah led the ruling party in the Upper House during a debate on President Ram Nath Kovind’s speech in Parliament on the opening day of the Budget Session. The speech is known as the “motion of thanks” to the president’s address, and the debate will be held on Monday and Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to speak on Tuesday.
Government a ‘name-changer’, not ‘game changer’: Congress
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Modi government was not a “game changer” but a “name-changer”, since it had changed the names of all schemes initiated by the United Progressive Alliance since 1985, ANI reported. Taking a jibe at Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah, Azad claimed that the government had introduced only one new scheme – that of converting Rs 50,000 into Rs 80 crore in a year.
Azad claimed that in “New India”, BJP-ruled states like Haryana had become the hub of criminal activities and rapes, The Indian Express reported.
Azad also attacked the government on the poor jobs data. “The government is yet to create 10 crore jobs. In 2015, employment generation was the lowest in comparison to the last five years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha, too, was adjourned for the day after members paid tribute to Hukum Singh, the BJP MP from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh who died on Saturday.